Approximately 3 million children were investigated for child abuse or neglect in 2002, and rates of substantiation for maltreatment were highest for infants and toddlers. This brief provides an introduction to the developmental tasks of infancy and describes the experiences of infants and toddlers in contact with the child welfare system. The findings are drawn from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW), a unique study that provides detailed information about the well-being and experiences of children and families in the child welfare system. Whereas existing research on this population comes primarily from administrative data or smaller studies, the NSCAW is the first comprehensive, nationally representative, longitudinal study to examine the well¬being of children and families in the child welfare system.
This research brief discusses the experiences of children ages 2 and younger who are involved in the child welfare system, describing characteristics of their home environment, their wellbeing, and the services that they receive through the child welfare and other systems.